Now that’s a blog post title I’ve been wanting to write for an awfully long time!! It’s been a long time coming, working behind the scenes to make this happen but finally this week we got our hands on this beautiful heritage building in need of a heap of building and design tlc. It’s hard to express how much heart is contained in Withington Baths. Some people who don’t believe buildings have souls might scoff, but it’s so stuffed full of happy memories and so many local people love it, that it just makes you smile when you walk in, even if the roof was leaking, the pool a bit stinky and the decor somewhat shabby after many years of operator (not staff!) disinterest. I had my inspiration and products all ready to go….
We’ve been busy for over two years making plans, raising funds and waiting until the shiny new council pool building on the parkway down the road was finished and finally the old operators moved out allowing Team LWB to get cracking last Saturday morning. Since then it’s been 12hr days every day and non-stop activity, with an endless line of amazing volunteers streaming in through the doors to help with everything from polishing to painting, scrubbing to stripping! Everyone watches TV makeover shows and sometimes your heart melts at the stories, well, this last five days has made all our hearts burst with pride at the community spirit which surrounds this project.
From a design and makeover perspective, the biggest challenge this week was the gym. Grubby green & blue chequer board flooring, maple 90’s style timber and dark blue walls which closed in the windowless room made it a pretty depressing place to be, not the energising lively space required in a modern temple of training. I opted for Valspar’s White Hot to lift the walls and brighten the whole space and it works an absolute treat. Then a deep graphite called Evening Coat (used previously outside and out of six greys was the best, again) to frame all the woodwork and skirting boards for a contemporary framed effect – I love this look on Pinterest and it works wonderfully on the repeat windows down the dividing wall and also around the mirrors – people keep asking if they’re new!
Working brilliantly with our branding, a vibrant and racy Pram Blue has created feature walls in new manager Dennis’s room and the refreshed reception area (ably sorted by Rebecca) and has also formed our super cool go faster stripe at the top end of the gym around the new stretch area.
Specifying the new flooring was something new for me, I’d never designed a gym space before! I knew I didn’t want a boring chess board pattern using just two colours and had seen some interesting computer generated images of carpet tiles in a much more random pattern. God love the fitters who turned up expecting to throw the charcoal and silver tiles down in a couple of hours.
Instead, every single one was thought through and laid after some consideration, to create a pixelated pattern of greys with a pathway of Ocean Interface tiled blues forming a pathway around where the equipment will be. The lads were ace, never complaining once, even when I started taking individual tiles up and moving them around to get pixel perfection. I love it, it’s so different to any other carpet tiled floor and affordable too, just takes some brain power 😉
Three days, including all scrubbing, cleaning, undercoating and black to white edging on a 20m by 10m room using only volunteers? We smashed it!
And we haven’t stopped there, oh no. Everyone had different skill sets and some weren’t comfy with painting so halls were scrubbed, original tiles unearthed, walls washed and bannisters sanded. Whilst the new staff were blitzing the Edwardian pool area to make it sparkle, we found a mini-job for all 😉
I’m so proud to be part of this project and am loving sharing it with you. More pics to follow as we get the new cafe area designed and installed, sexy signage up, the gardens sorted and more restoration work begins.
Special thanks to interior / property contacts Valspar (paint), Protec (protective materials), Interface Flooring (tiles) and local Manchester firm Dyne Tiles for your help, support and speedy reactions this week – you rock x
Right, I can’t hang around here chatting with you lot, I’ve a cafe / Zumba room / hallway to finish before we OPEN FOR BUSINESS! www.lovewithingtonbaths.com